Prosopographia Imperii Romani

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The Prosopographia Imperii Romani (abbreviated PIR or PIR² for the revision) is an encyclopedia of the leadership of the Roman Empire from the time of Augustus to the end of the 3rd century AD. All known members of the senatorial class (senators and their family members ), as well as other important personalities, especially from the knighthood . The Roman emperors, their families as well as foreign princes connected with the empire are also recorded. The PIR is the most important tool for prosopographical research into the Roman Empire.

The persons in the PIR are arranged according to the gentile name . The known sources (especially inscriptions , papyri and coins) are listed and cited in the significant parts , on the basis of which a biographical outline has been compiled. Offices / functions, family relationships (also in the form of stemmata ) and possible literary activities are listed. The entries are written in Latin .

Like other ancient research projects, the PIR was founded in the 19th century on the initiative of Theodor Mommsen at the Berlin Academy . The first edition was edited from 1883 by Hermann Dessau , Elimar Klebs and Paul von Rohden and appeared in three volumes in 1897/1898. A revision, made necessary by new research results and sources, was started in 1915; her first volume, edited by Edmund Groag and Arthur Stein , appeared in 1933, the second in 1936. The publication of the other volumes was delayed due to the political situation. From 1951, work at the PIR was resumed under the direction of Leiva Petersen at the German Academy of Sciences (later the Academy of Sciences of the GDR ), but to a very limited extent. After the fall of the Wall , the project finally found a home as an academy project at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, which was newly founded in 1992 . Since then, Werner Eck has been the responsible project manager. On December 31, 2006, the PIR ended as an academy project. At this point in time, Volume 7, Fascicle 1 with the letters Q and R and at the end of 2006 Fascicle 2 with the letter S were last published. Processing of the missing letters will continue outside of the academy program. In 2009 fascicle 1 of volume 8 with the letter T appeared, which was completed with the support of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. In November 2015 the last fascicle appeared with the remaining letters U / V – Z. With this, the second edition of Prosopographia Imperii Romani was completed after 82 years .

Since 1998 the entries have been created with the help of a database, which has not been updated since October 2004 and is marked as completed. A keyword list of the recorded persons and a database with addenda to the volumes that have already been published can be called up on the Internet.

With regard to the group of people recorded, the PIR is followed by the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire .


  • Werner Eck : A prosopographical database or the PIR in computer-aided form . In: Martin Fell et al. (Hrsg.): Databases in the ancient history (= computers and antiquity. Volume 2). Scripta Mercaturae, St. Katharinen 1994, ISBN 3-928134-84-1 , pp. 82-90.
  • Werner Eck: The Prosopographia Imperii Romani and Prosopographical Method . In: Averil Cameron (Ed.): Fifty Years of Prosopography. The Later Roman Empire, Byzantium and Beyond (= Proceedings of The British Academy. Volume 118). University Press, Oxford 2003, ISBN 0-19-726292-9 , pp. 11-22.
  • Werner Eck, Matthäus Heil (ed.): Senatores populi Romani. Reality and media presentation of a management class. Colloquium of the Prosopographia Imperii Romani from 11. – 13. June 2004 (= Heidelberg Ancient History Articles and Epigraphic Studies . Volume 40). Steiner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08684-6 .
  • Werner Eck: The PIR as reflected by the people involved. History of a long-term company at the Berlin Academy 141 years after it began. In: Derselbe, Matthäus Heil (ed.): Prosopography of the Roman Empire. Income and prospects. Colloquium on the occasion of the completion of the Prosopographia Imperii Romani . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-055714-5 , pp. 1–94.

Web links

Wikisource: Prosopographia Imperii Romani  - Sources and full texts